Jo established Immediate Theatre in 1996 to create a relationship between her work and the community in which she lives, Hackney. Prior to this, Jo worked as a freelance director and project development worker for a range of organisations leading new writing and education programmes. These included: the Royal Court, Paines Plough, the Liverpool Everyman, Theatre Venture, Theatr Powys, the Half Moon Young Peoples’ Theatre. Jo is Chair of Governors for a local Primary School, trustee of Maya Productions and Mimbre, a local Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation, and has delivered consultancy projects for the Round House and London Bubble.
During her career, Jo has developed plays which introduce older audiences of differing cultural backgrounds which was invaluable when delivering intergenerational work with funding from Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery. She has had huge success winning funding bids for Immediate, including large contracts of over £300,000, resulting in a turnover of £850,000. This reputation was recognised widely, with Jo winning awards for excellence from the Learning Trust and National Social Care & Health projects. With Immediate, Jo conceived the EbYT model, providing sustained arts activities in the most deprived areas of Hackney, and has also led on Theatre Pathways, tackling inequality for BAME young people seeking a career in the arts.
Sharon started working at Immediate Theatre in December 2013 as the organisation’s Administrator. Before her time at Immediate Theatre, Sharon moved from her home town in Ireland to London in 2006 and worked for many years as a broker in the City before deciding to move into the Third Sector. She spent a year travelling around Central & South America, working with various conservation projects in Bolivia and Colombia before settling back in London to work with a national charity.
Sharon began working with Immediate Theatre in 2013 and then took on the role of General Manager in 2015. Sharon took on a great responsibility of leading the organisation out of a very difficult financial period and moving the team to new offices at the Arcola Theatre, our new home. Sharon leads on management for the organisation, working closely with Jo on strategy and development, compiling research for funding sources, negotiating contracts with partners and funders and taking the lead on developing funding applications.
Outside of office hours, Sharon brings her passion for organisation and the outdoors together! She loves to organise regular group hikes to England’s beautiful countryside and enjoys long summer camping trips!
Charmain started working with Immediate Theatre in 1999. She initially became Project Coordinator for the Meet the Parents project in 2004. Her extensive experience of sex and relationship training has made this one of our most successful projects and the project is still up and running in schools across the borough today. Charmain is a level 1 and level 2 accredited tutor and has taught in a diverse range of educational settings across Hackney, for over 18 years.
She recently stepped into the role of Participation Manager, taking on the management of the Estate-based Youth Theatres, the cornerstone of Immediate’s work within the community. Charmain has many strings to her bow and works across numerous projects for the company as well as being the Safeguarding Deputy. She is an extremely dedicated member of staff, so much so that we find it difficult to get her on annual leave! You will always spot Charmain from the crowd, with her amazingly polished nails and larger-than-life earrings!
Training Coordinator (Pathways to Employment)
Gbenga has been working with Immediate Theatre for over 2 years. He started his career as a Youth Justice Practitioner where he developed extensive experience engaging the hard to reach young people. After working on the Talent Match project for two years as an Outreach & Case Worker, Gbenga is now the Training Coordinator for Immediate Theatre’s employability work. He also works as a freelance videographer, delivering targeted workshops and producing independent videos for street artists, gallery’s and individuals. In his spare time, he enjoys creating art on canvas and visiting art galleries and exhibitions.
Youth Drama Coordinator
Nadya joined Immediate Theatre in September 2018 having spent 6 years teaching in inner London secondary schools. In her previous role she successfully formed a new Drama department, producing and directing a range of productions. She is excited to now be working in the voluntary arts sector and leading the Estate-based Youth Theatre groups for Immediate Theatre in Hackney. Before moving into Education, Nadya undertook her BA in Drama & English in Bristol followed by 5 years working in Marketing at the BBC in Bristol and London. In her spare time, Nadya enjoys going to the theatre, cooking, yoga and, most of all, spending time with her cat, Ruby.
Marketing & Administration Intern
Fiona was successful in applying for the very competetive Marketing & Administration Internship, as part of the Jack Petchey Foundation intern scheme and joined Immediate Theatre in September 2018. She has previous experience in social media marketing before joining us and has ambitions to create her own theatre company in the future. Fiona has a BA in Drama and Film and an MA in Shakespeare and Creativity. During her university education she devised and performed a variety of theatre, including a piece of new writing that was performed at the RSC’s Other Place Theatre. Fiona always has brightly coloured hair, is an avid film watcher and, enjoys drawing and jewellery making.
Associate Director (2008-2017)
We were all deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague Tony Gouveia on 31st January 2017. Tony had been Associate Director of Immediate Theatre since 2008 and his impact on our work and the lives of hundreds of young people was significant. As Sir Peter Bazalgette, recent Chair of the Arts Council said, “The doorway into the arts can be hard to find” - Tony dedicated his life to reaching out into the community, to opening the door for people, young and old, and inviting them in. His loss has been felt deeply not just by his family and the young people he worked with but by the wider arts community. Over the nearly forty years of his career he was at the forefront of innovation and excellence and worked across Britain and the world becoming a legendary figure in the world of arts participation. In recognition of his contribution Arcola Theatre has dedicated one of their studios to his legacy and to the sectors continuing commitment to keeping the door way to theatre open for all.
Current Year: Sep 2018 – Aug 2019
Immediate Theatre has been providing first time employment opportunities for young people since 2001 by employing young people as Peer Facilitators (aged 16-25 years) on our youth theatres across Hackney. The Peer Facilitator programme provides an opportunity for young people, with an interest in youth arts, to provide support to the staff team in community youth theatres. The programme is designed for young people who may face significant barriers to employment to prevent them from becoming NEET. In the past, we have worked with ex young offenders, young people in care, young carers and many who have low attainment levels at school. Peer Facilitators are recruited following a short training period which covers essential facilitation skills and safeguarding. This work has a significant impact on the Estate-based Youth Theatre participants, many of who experience complex challenges in their own lives. The Peer Facilitators act as a bridge between adult workers and the young people, acting as positive role models and pushing them to do their best.